The Effectiveness of Academic Library Deans and Directors: A Literature Review


  • Jody Fagan



academic library deans, academic library directors, leadership theories


As with other organizations in higher education, academic libraries face increasing pressure to assess their work and be more accountable for returns on investment. Although most academic library deans are subject to some type of internal performance review, a broader examination of what makes library deans and directors effective could provide valuable guidance for current and future library leaders. This article reviews some of the core theories of leadership effectiveness in the mainstream management literature and examines recent publications related to effective library leadership. Because few such studies have been conducted, the review was expanded to include studies of academic deans outside of the library as well as studies suggesting interesting new directions for research into academic library leader effectiveness. Although the literature in the area of dean effectiveness is somewhat scattered, the findings of individual works are intriguing and suggest several topics for further research. This review also produced suggestions related to methodology. Future researchers should ground investigations of library leadership effectiveness within existing leadership theories. For empirical works, researchers should consider using previously developed, validated instruments in order to be able to compare results with the larger body of leadership effectiveness research.




How to Cite

Fagan, J. (2012). The Effectiveness of Academic Library Deans and Directors: A Literature Review. Library Leadership & Management, 26(1).